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Is Kamloops a city that requires a car?

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I spent my four years of undergrad at a uni that had everything you'd need accessible by transit and Uber, so I saved my money and opt-ed out of a car. Now that I'm moving to a new city, I'm wondering if anyone would recommend against having a car in Kamloops? 

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I would probably advise you to get a car. Kamloops is a fairly spread out city, and I understand from friends there that the transit generally kinda sucks (although I have no personal experience with it). Having a car might also open up some cheaper/nicer areas to rent, which would be a pain to get to via transit. 

Also, Kamloops is unlikely to have uber or lyft any time soon, so you'll be stuck with taxis if you can't transit somewhere. 

Caveat that this is all just from visiting Kamloops randomly over the years to see friends/ski. TRU students may have different advice.

 

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I lived in Kamloops for a semester while I was taking a continuing education course. I didn't have a car while I was there and I was fine. I walked everywhere and took the bus. I also had a bike but I really didn't use it as much as I should have lol. I had no problem with the bus. I lived close to the campus so I would walk. I could also walk from campus to downtown easily, it was about a 30 minute walk. You definitely don't need a car and lots of people who I went to school with or met there didn't drive. I chose not to bring my car with me when I was there and the only time I regretted it was when I wanted to explore outside of Kamloops. There are some pretty great trails outside of the city that I wish I had more of a chance to explore. I did hike, but I went with people who had cars. 

When I needed to get groceries or go somewhere a bit farther than where I was living I would just use Zipcar, which is like a car sharing service similar to Car-2-Go. It was super easy to get approved and I would just use it. Zipcar is super convenient because you can just leave the car when you're done with it and don't need to worry about it. You are free from the crazy parking fees they charge in some areas. If it was crappy weather I would also take a zipcar from campus to downtown. Sometimes you have to walk a bit to find a zipcar, but it wasn't too bad for me. I think the longest I walked to find a zipcar was about 20 minutes lol, and in that time I could have probably just called a cab. 

In general BC doesn't really have Lift or Uber (although I think Uber might have just gotten approved in Van). I think that Kamloops has plans to get Kabu though which is basically the same thing. The thing about BC though is that everyone uses cabs and cabs are readily available. A lot of cab companies have apps that you can use as well similar to Uber. You can hail cabs when you're downtown or call them and they show up pretty fast.

So long story short, you don't need a car. It is convenient to have, but you can definitely make it work without. 

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There's a bunch of groceries stores within walking distance of campus. But when the snow and ice hits, you won't want to walk. Plenty of students get by without a car with a mix of carpooling and transit, but it's definitely nice to have a car there.

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Posted (edited)

I've lived in Kamloops off and on since 2010. The first few years I was paying off student loans so I chose not to buy a car. I chose rentals based on the bus routes and being walking distance to a grocery store. The main transit routes run frequent service during rush hours, but there are many times when I missed a night bus and had to wait an hour for the next. This hurts any time but especially in the winter. If your budget allows for a car I'd say get a car. Aside from convenience and warmth, there are a lot of beautiful places around Kamloops that can only be accessed with a vehicle.                                                           A cheaper alternative is to take advantage of low season weekend rentals. The last 2 years or so before I bought my vehicle I rented a car nearly every weekend outside of Christmas and summer. If you have credit card insurance and you don't rent in high season, you can usually find a compact vehicle from friday-monday for $75-$90. I spent less than 1/3 of what it now costs me to own, insure, and maintain my car. 

Edited by Shiftsandgiggles
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I lived there for a few years, can't drive for medical reasons, and would say it is definitely doable without a car (although I did have friends who would drive me places if needed). You could always try it without a car first and if it turns out your life would be significantly improved with one then you can make the decision. 

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I went to TRU law and got by without a car for the 3 years I lived there.  A car would have been nice and most of my classmates had one, but I got by fine without one.  I know from classmates that parking on campus was always a struggle anyways so that would have been a pain.  I lived downtown for 2 of my 3 years and at the time there were 3 different bus lines that would take me to campus so it was never a really long wait.  

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On 5/22/2020 at 3:36 PM, Stark said:

I know from classmates that parking on campus was always a struggle anyways so that would have been a pain.

it's gotten much worse as they are turning most of the parking lots into condos and just keep expanding the lot furthest away from old main.  If you aren't on campus by 830 you can expect a decent walk from the back of the lot, between 9-12 you are basically patrolling the lot looking for someone to leave.

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Lived in rez 1 and 2L with no car.  You will manage between carpooling, walking and taxis.  I never once used the bus so I cant comment on that.  Its a pain in the winter for sure but winters are mild

I lived downtown with a car 3L and it was much much better and worth the extra expenses and my rent was cheaper than in rez so it kind of evened out.  Kamloops is a nice city for driving and there is so much to do just outside of walking distance I would highly recommend it.  Some of the luxuries I enjoyed - Not having to plan groceries, playing hockey frequently, day trips around Kamloops and neighbouring cities for meals etc...

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1 hour ago, Bure10 said:

Lived in rez 1 and 2L with no car.  You will manage between carpooling, walking and taxis.  I never once used the bus so I cant comment on that.  Its a pain in the winter for sure but winters are mild

I lived downtown with a car 3L and it was much much better and worth the extra expenses and my rent was cheaper than in rez so it kind of evened out.  Kamloops is a nice city for driving and there is so much to do just outside of walking distance I would highly recommend it.  Some of the luxuries I enjoyed - Not having to plan groceries, playing hockey frequently, day trips around Kamloops and neighbouring cities for meals etc...

How was living on residents 

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8 hours ago, Mydream123 said:

How was living on residents

I'm not the person you replied to, but it depends on which residence building you get. The main building has suites consisting of 2 bedrooms that connect to a small kitchen (no stove/oven, just a fridge and microwave and pantry space), and the 2 bedrooms share a bathroom. This is a nice setup if you have another law student or grad student to share it with. I had friends who shared this setup with undergrads and found it very difficult because undergrads party more/have friends over more often.

The main building has communal kitchens with proper stoves and ovens, as well as lounges with big screen TVs and PS4s/Xboxs.

The residence building also requires all guests to sign-in and leave their ID at the front desk and wear wrist bands the entire time. You can't have guests on weekends unless you pre-register them.

The walls are pretty thin, you can hear loud music pretty clearly. It can definitely keep you up if you're a light sleeper.

My SO lived in residence with a roommate who was also in the law program, they spent all 3 years in that building. They had a hard time being able to study in their dorm but law students have 24/7 access to the law building so they studied there a lot.

It was a few hundred dollars a month cheaper than renting a condo, which is important considering how expensive tuition is.

TL;DR: The main building is not much different than any other dorm. This can be an issue in law school because undergrads party more than law students.

 

Edited by canuckfanatic

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I spent my first year in the so called new res. I’m glad I did it at the time having never been to Kamloops, not having a car and not knowing anything about the city or where to live. Unless things have changed since I was a student, the 1L schedule had a lot of time spent in class as most 3 hour classes were spread to twice a week 1.5 hour lectures. That changed in the upper years. Basically it meant that you had to be at campus quite often during the week with random breaks throughout the day. I appreciated being able to make the short walk back to my room when I had the random 3 hour break in the day. 
 

With that said, I was only too quick to leave res after my first year. I lived in res during most of my undergrad but just found that I was at a different point in my life when I got into law school. The hallways filled with partying 18 year olds just annoyed me. I was also tired of having a roommate. I was used to a much bigger university which had meal plan options for those living in res but TRU never really had anything like that. You could buy a plan for flex dollars that you could use at the few places on campus but there was no actual caf where you could get your meals. You also only have a microwave and fridge in your room so I found eating properly to be a little tough. 

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2 hours ago, Stark said:

I was used to a much bigger university which had meal plan options for those living in res but TRU never really had anything like that.

TRU's on-campus meal options are rough. You could go to the Den and get pub food, or Tim Horton's. The best place to eat is Scratch Cafe but it has such limited hours. Off campus at Landmark there is now a ramen place, a bubble tea place, and a healthy meal-prep place, but that's not a convenient walk if you just want something quick when you're at your dorm.

Urban Market in the Campus Activity Centre is not bad and is a lot healthier than the Den, but there's no place to sit.

I found myself buying most of my lunches from The U&M Deli on the 2nd floor of Old Main. Their chicken shawarma on rice was decent and filling for under $10.

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My auntie lives in Vernon which is about a 90 minute drive so I’ll surely bring a car should I get in... plus I’ll frequent Blazers games as well.

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On ‎5‎/‎26‎/‎2020 at 11:44 AM, Mydream123 said:

How was living on residents 

Fine for me  New residence would be the only one I consider. 

I didn't mind the noise and to be honest I was probably making a lot but it was fine for what I wanted.  I enjoyed my 3L out of residence as well.

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